[Israel.pm] Perl 6 Critique

Mikhael Goikhman migo at homemail.com
Fri Feb 20 15:00:14 PST 2004

On 20 Feb 2004 19:56:36 +0200, Shlomi Fish wrote:
> I did not say or imply it. I know Perl 5 will persist and not go away.
> But I still think the Perl 6 initiative is a bad idea, as it will
> amount to nothing.

I would not speak so categorically. At least Perl 6 porters will use this
language for everything, so it simply can't "amount to nothing". I know
I will surely switch to Perl 6 too when it reaches 6.0.0 or 6.2.0.

> > Sometimes writing from scratch is very healthy. 
> Sometimes, but usually not.

Well, Perl developers decided it is needed and healthy. You will just get
the resulting product from them. All your Perl 5 code will continue to
run, so you personally may use Perl 6 without rewriting anything.

[Windows offtopic skipped]

> Perl 6 will also be vastly different than Perl 5. Many times
> compatibility was broken on purpose, without a good enough reason.

What makes you think that Larry Wall is unreasonable and just removes or
adds features without a _very_ good reason? I don't get this argument.
Maybe because I had a chance to read and understand some Apocalypses.
(I didn't have a time to read all of them.)

> Most people will lose their mind if they have to maintain codebases in
> both Perl 5 and Perl 6 (or a mixture thereof).

Let me understand this sentence. Do you mean I will likely lose my mind?
Please don't make such scary claims. :) Or at least add "IMHO".

Seriously, I don't think the conversion will be such painful.
Old code will always stay in Perl 5 until it is obsolete or replaced.

I may also imagine CPAN modules for automatical Perl 5 to Perl 6 code

> So my guess is that people will simply just stick to Perl 5.

No, they will gradually switch to Perl 6 when they feel a need to start
to use all these nice language features or the new Perl 6 codebase.

It may take some time (even years depending on the project) to switch
languages, with some parts left in Perl 5 (barely developed) and some
parts in Perl 6. New projects are likely to use Perl 6 from the start.

This is not more difficult than maintaining some parts in Java, some in
C++. (Not to mention competing "P" and "R" languages.)

> I was talking about the Perl 6 redesign which I heavily disapproves of.

I think this is the main valid argument in your article.

It is possible you will get and like Perl 6 design in the future.
It surely contains the same Perl spirit we all love.

> (not to mention that the Perl 6 equivalent of the Camel book will
> probably be the size of the Encyclopedia Britannica).

I don't think it is possible to learn Perl 5 thoroughly by merely reading
the Camel book, it is much more complicated already. So, Perl 6 only
organizes this complexity by removing arbitrary constraints and cleaning
up some messy/ugly things added to Perl 5. Performance is improved too.
As someone finding Ruby nice I may only welcome the Perl 6 redesign.

[Operating system and Hebrew offtopic skipped]

Perl 5 is great, and knowing it is desirable for every software engineer.
However Perl 6 has its own short and long term goals, like suggested in
this link that was already posted here:



perl -e 'print+chr(64+hex)for+split//,d9b815c07f9b8d1e'

More information about the Perl mailing list